Insula – Chapter 10: Grief

Ven studied the surveillance footage from the display-panel. He flipped through the different areas of the ship: the dining lounge, a few of the corridors, the Medical Bay and even the doors of all the Ascenders. He wished there had been one for the S.A.F. but none of the lower levels had surveillance feeds. Their construction was different apart from the rest of the ship due to the thick walling used to compensate for potential hazardous exposures.

He glanced down at his Caller, feeling the urge to look through it. He forced himself not to though – not with Dr. Qim and Eri around – Eri more than anything.

Eri resorted to dribbling his hands across one of the panels, humming to himself. Vexus – could he just be quiet for once? Ven thought.

Dr. Qim, on the other hand was quietly observing the view of the planet in the back.

“They should be checking-in in about five minutes,” Ven announced, noting the timestamp on the display-screen.

“I wonder if everything is going smoothly,” Eri said still dribbling. “Silence, is never a good sign.”

This seemed to stir up Dr. Qim. She shifted uncomfortably, trying to hide her concern.

Ven noted this. “If you can’t think of something positive to say, keep your mouth shut,” he snapped.

Eri put hands up defensively. “Er- you’re right. Sorry, Chief,” he apologized. “Let’s hope the thing holds off on trying to kill them.”

“Eri!” Ven snapped again. He was ready to pound the vexing kid.

Without warning, Dr. Qim stalked towards the Ascender.

“Doc?” Ven said with a puzzled look.

She halted. “I think if we’re going to be cooped up in here for a while,” she said, “I should at least bring up more of my supplies. Just in case anyone does return injured,” her eyes flashed towards Eri, “I want to be able to treat them properly.”

“Absolutely not,” Ven interjected. “I don’t want anyone walking around this ship alone.”

She scoffed. “Well if you’re so worried about that, then one of you can accompany me,” she stated firmly, “but I will not wait here without the proper equipment. Every minute will count in the event something does happen and I can’t waste even one running back and forth.” Her eyes burned with the fury of Solaris.

Ven rendered a deep sigh, conceding. “Eri, go with her.”

“Me, Sir?” he said with a surprised look. “Why do I have go? She’s the crazy one who wants to go out there with that thing running loose!”

Now,” Ven said firmly, glaring at him.

It was obvious Eri was not going to win this battle and he knew it. He scoffed in defeat, dragging his feet over to Dr. Qim – not without passing her a salty look.

“Since you’re headed to the Medical Bay,” Ven brought up, “I will be able to monitor you from here. If I see anything, I’ll let you know over the Caller, but only in the event of an emergency. Remain alert out there and move quickly.”

Dr. Qim nodded, summoning the Ascender. The news didn’t seem to comfort Eri who trailed behind her. Immediately, the doors opened and the two entered, leaving Ven to himself.

Ven turned back to the monitors waiting for them to appear on the surveillance. As he did, his eyes drifted down to his Caller again. He couldn’t wait any longer. He activated the screen, prompting the display of several messages – ones he had asked Aloe to transfer over to him prior to leaving. The ones of Faa.

He played the first one, listening to her voice speak about inviting Aloe for lunch. While it played, a smile etched across his lips.

She was truly something special – intelligent, passionate and beautiful. He on the other end couldn’t be more polar opposite. He wasn’t an imbecile, but nowhere near as smart as her. He didn’t hold the passion like she did for her work either – sure he cared for the Insula, but his years commanding the ship were what instilled that respect for it, never the work. As for his looks – he was a walking rust bucket.

Ven never understood what Faa was drawn-in about him. He knew what he admired in her, but what did she ever see in him? Maybe that was part of the reason why he didn’t want anyone to know what went on between them. What would they think? Even on the surface, they didn’t seem like a suitable match like pairing a diamond with a plain rock, or a display-panel with a box of scraps.

And yet, she still cared for him.

By the time all the messages finished, Ven had finally broken down into tears. He felt anger dwelling within them, even remorse. Most importantly though, he felt something he hadn’t in a very long time – grief.

Vexus, he wished he could just hold her – just one more time.